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Miffed Swami Agnivesh Walks Out Of Team Anna

PTI 25 Aug 2011, 11:05:35 IST

New Delhi, Aug 25: The ubiquitous saffron-clad Swami Agnivesh appears to be no more part of Team Anna, and he said so in so many words on Wednesday in an interview to BBC Hindi.

Swami Agnivesh told the broadcaster that since Anna Hazare was unwilling to end his fast and be put on drip, he has decided to stay away from the activities of Team Anna. "Because I cannot support fast unto death on principle", he added.

However, Swami Agnivesh has told his close associates that Anna's movement was not in accordance with social justice, and he was thus dissociating himself.

In the interview, however, Swami Agnivesh denied there was division and differences in Team Anna.

"There are small differences between the members but you cannot call it division. If the government agrees to introduce the Jan Lokpal Bill with some amendments, Anna should call off his fast", the swami said.  "But Anna is insisting that his fast would continue so long as the Bill is not passed", he added.

Swami Agnivesh said: "Anna has refused to be put on saline drip. Had he agreed, the movement would have continued and there would have been no worries about his health."

He added: "Anna has also asked his supporters to close the gates if the police comes to pick him up. This runs counter to even Anna's principles." Anna had earlier said he would not resist if the police picked him up.

"I had told Team Anna from the very beginning that I have against indefinite fast unto death. Now since the circumstances have changed, I want to stay away", said Swami Agnivesh.

The saffron-clad swami said: "Anna is now saying that he is listening to the voice of his inner conscience, but is telling the government to listen to the voice of the people.  He is himself not listening to the voice of the people."

Agnivesh has told his close associates that he tried to convince Team Anna about raising the social justice issue, but since the team members did not show much inclination, he decided to dissociate himself.